When it comes to working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the script has largely been written for what comes next. Employers are signaling that working remotely is here to stay for some employees, music to the ears of those employees who enjoy clocking in from the home office.
However, a Steelcase report, The Hidden Bias of Working From Home, points out that the pandemic has been difficult for everyone in different ways, but particularly for those required to work from home who may not have the best setup for that requirement.
Physical Home Size Can Affect Remote Workers’ Wellbeing
The study reveals:
- Home-based work for employees not prepared for it can cause a range of “unintended inequities” as cramped quarters give rise to a decrease in wellness, and an increase in stress. With 72% of global companies indicating a continued preference for a hybrid office/remote work strategy, employers will need to consider which employees, and their home environments, are best suited for remote work.
- The differences in home environments can lead to ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ regarding who can succeed working remotely, and who can’t. This is largely due to their workspace set-up, whether they have the necessary resources or technology tools to do their jobs, and if they have ergonomic furniture to support their wellbeing and performance.
- A concern is that most of the managers in a company making such decisions are likely ‘haves,’ and therefore will have a hidden bias that everyone, regardless of conditions, can work from home.
- The research found a direct connection between home working conditions and feelings of wellbeing and stress, which in turn impacts morale, productivity, and collaboration.
- The ‘haves’ tend to benefit from a home-based office, while the ‘have nots’ don’t.
- Business leaders and managers will need to take these realities into consideration when designing effective post-COVID hybrid remote/office strategies.
Solutions Such As Home Office Furniture Can Make a Difference for Remote Workers in Small Quarters
For employees living in smaller spaces, like a one-bedroom apartment, an effective work area can still be carved out of limited space. Here are some tips:
- Identify areas that can be used as a workspace: A spare room, or even a corner, that could accommodate a chair, desk, and related tech equipment would work, as would a breakfast nook, closet, and other such places. The key here is to get a dedicated workspace.
- Avoid distractions: Try to ease them by planning and sticking to a work schedule and using resources like noise-cancelling headphones.
- Mental health and wellness is important: Be sure to take breaks just as you would if working from an office. Also, use audiovisual tools to socialize with team members. Exercise will help ease feelings of isolation by getting the endorphins flowing.
- Consider a sit/stand workstation: Height-adjustable worksurfaces promotes wellbeing by allowing you to work in the best posture that feels right for you, at whatever time of day. Steelcase’s Active Lift Riser can be placed or any surface, to support you as you shift from sitting to standing.
- Start using an ergonomic chair: Utilizing ergonomic home office furniture, such as a chair, can drastically improve your productivity levels and health. The right ergonomic chair will support your posture, reduce your back pain and neck pain, easily adjust to your height and size, and is built for long-term use.
- POI Has Your Home Office Furniture Solutions
COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with our work environments, particularly for employees who will continue to work remotely post-pandemic. Contact the experts at POI today for home office furniture solutions that will support your health and your work, regardless of the size of your workspace.